When I was in college at UAB was the first time I was really exposed to improvisational music, free jazz, and other “weird” music of that ilk. It was the first time I heard Sun Ra, a Birmingham native who has since relocated to outer space, and his presence still lingers over the city. Because of him, I sometimes think of Birmingham itself as a space ship that will eventually leave earth to return to whatever faroff planet it initially came from. George Mostoller, a bandmate of mine at the time, was responsible for my Sun Ra education.
Through George, I also met Davey Williams and LaDonna Smith, who to this day have no idea how much they influenced me as a young musician. Later I became familiar with New York improvisers like John Zorn, but there is something about Southern weirdo musicians that will always hold a special place in my heart. Where New York music of this genre hits you in the face again and again, there is something about the Southern variety that grows on you like, well like kudzu, I guess.
Friday night, I got to see Davey and LaDonna, and a host of other incredible musicians, as part of the Improvisor Festival. I arrived just in time to see Andrea Centazzo do an AMAZING solo percussion piece. And then he was joined by Davey and Ladonna themselves, followed by an all-star “meltdown” performance by about a dozen of the best musicians this town has ever seen.
The festival goes throughout this week. I’ll definitely be attending more shows.
VISIT LIVE FEED BROADCASTS “THE PHONE IMPROV SHOW” AUGUST 1-31
UPCOMING EVENTS HIGHLIGHTED
Fri July 30 7:00 BARE HANDS “Mastering the Art of Improv”
Sat July 31 7:30 BARE HANDS “Corpus Euphonium” (Birmingham) freejazz noise with dance!
Sun AUG 1 8:00 THE STONE (NYC) the improvisor festival opens in New York City! THE STONE is located at the corner of avenue C and 2nd street, New York City http://www.thestonenyc.com/ The A.M.I.C.A. Bunker Reunion Concert featuring
Sun AUG 1 8:00 The North Midtown Arts Center, Jackson, Mississippi Satellite Concert
FRI AUG 6 WORKPLAY (Birmingham) “Magic City Meltdown!“
7:30 Killick & DeWar
8:00 Henry Kaiser & Davey Williams
8:30 Gino Robair and you …
10:00 Andrea Centazzo + LaDonna Smith + Davey Williams
SAT 7 9:00 a.m. Pepper Place “Farmers Market” “Morning Improv Parade”
10:00-12:00 “Stomp Kitchen” Children’s Improv Workshop Pepper Place at
SAT 7 8:00 p.m. Barking Leggs (Chattanooga), the improvisor festival tour
SUN 8 4:00 p.m. Pepper Place, “The Listening Room” Raj Kumar Singh,
8:00 p.m. EYEDRUM (Atlanta) the improvisor festival tour Atlanta
MON 9 8:00 p.m. CINE’ (Athens) the improvisor festival tour Athens
TUES 10 7:00 p.m. CINE’ (Athens) “I-NORTON” Gino Robair conducts his Creative
WED 11 7:00 p.m. “The Listening Room” (Birmingham) Pepper Place CONCERT
THURS 12 7:00 Pepper Place “The Listening Room” CONCERT
FRI 13 7:00 p.m. BOTTLETREE MUSIC CAFÉ
SAT 14 10:00 a.m. Pepper Place, “Farmer’s Market” Guerilla Dancers….
1:00 -3:00 p.m. CDF “Dance This Mess Around”
“Spaceship Saturn: A Tribute to Sun Ra.”
SAT 14 8:00 p.m. SATELLITE CONCERT: Joe McPhee Wayward Music Series (Seattle, WA)
Sun 15 11:00 a.m. Pepper Place, “The Listening Room” Raj Kumar Singh, from Ujjian, India:
Sun 15 4:00 p.m
Sun 15 7:00 p.m. CHILDRENS DANCE FOUNDATION – “Orb. Fade. Trip. Dog.”
Tues 17 “Odd of Medusa”
Wed 18 7:00 Pepper Place “The Listening Room”
Fri 20 7:00 CHILDREN’S DANCE FOUNDATION “Laura Knox Dedication”
8:00 “Just Move It” CDF Dancers, Movers & Shaker’s improvisor Showcase
SAT 21 9:00-11:00 a.m. Pepper Place The LiteBox Gallery Children’s Improv Orchestra
SUN 22-28 “ODD PLACES WEEK” Claire Elizabeth Barratt
7:00 Stella & Rhea “In Silence”
SAT 28 9:00-11:00 FARMERS MARKET “Childrens Improv Workshop” 10:00 – 12:00
“Sounding Off” the-improvisor festival Closing Party-
SUN 29 WHEREVER YOU ARE Day of Rest, Gratitude & Meditation (improvised of course!)
4:00 p.m. “Artburst” Unitarian Universalist Church micro-tonal works by Monroe Golden